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Full text of "The gilly of Christ"

HE CILLY OF CHRIST 




LIBRARY 



CALIFORNIA 
AN MiO 



THE GILLY 
OF CHRIST 

By Seosamh . . . 
Mac Cathmliaoil, . . 
With Three Symbols 
By Ada M. . . . 
Wentworth Sheilds. 

MAUNSEL & CO., 
LIMITED, DUBLIN. 
1907. 



TO A. V. M. 



CONTENTS. 



I FOLLOW A STAR 

I AM THE GILLY OF CHRIST. 

BY A WONDROUS MYSTERY. 

WHEN ROOKS FLY HOMEWARD. 

AS I CAME OVER THE GREY, GREY HILLS. 

CHRIST, WANDERING WITH THE TWELVE. 

THE DARK IS MAGICAL. 

THE WOMEN BORE THEIR CHILDREN. 

HE STAGGERED THRO' THE BURNING STREET. 

TWILIGHT FALLEN WHITE AND COLD. 

THE MOON IS IN THE MARSHES. 

I AM THE MOUNTAINY SINGER. 

AT MORNING TIDE. 

EVERY SHUILER IS CHRIST. 

THE POET LOOSED A WINGED SONG. 



And there are also many other things which 
Christ and the gilly did, the which, if they 
should be written every one, I suppose that 
even the world itself could not contain the 
books that should be written. 






a 4 

o o 










THE INCARNATION. 



I FOLLOW A STAR. 

T FOLLOW a star 

^ Burning deep in the blue, 

A sign on the hills 

Lit for me and for you ! I 

Moon-red is the star, 
Halo-ringed like a rood, 
Christ's heart in its heart set, 
Streaming with blood. 

Follow the gilly 

Beyond to the west : 

He leads where the Christ lies 

On Mary's white breast. 

King, priest and prophet 
A child, and no more 
Adonai the Maker! 
Come, let us adore. 



I AM THE GILLY 
OF CHRIST. 

T AM the gilly of Christ, 
^ The mate of Mary's Son ; 
I run the roads at seeding-time, 
And when the harvest 's done. 

I sleep among the hills, 

The heather is my bed ; 

I dip the termon-well for drink, 

And pull the sloe for bread. 

No eye has ever seen me, 
But shepherds hear me pass, 
Singing at fall of even 
Along the shadowed grass. 

The beetle is my bellman, 
The meadow-fire my guide, 
The bee and bat my ambling nags 
When 1 have need to ride. 

All know me only the Stranger, 
Who sits on the Saxons' Height : 
He burned the bacach's little house 
On last St. Brigid's Night. 



He sups off silver dishes, 
And drinks in a golden horn, 
But he will wake a wiser man 
Upon the Judgment Morn ! 

I am the gilly of Christ, 
The mate of Mary's Son ; 
I run the roads at seeding-time, 
And when the harvest 's done. 

The seed I sow is lucky, 

The corn I reap is red, 

And whoso sings the ' Gilly's Ranu ' 

Will never cry for bread. 



BY A WONDROUS 
MYSTERY. 

"DY a wondrous mystery 

Christ of Mary's fair body 
Upon a middle winter's morn, 
Between the tides of night and day, 
In Ara's holy isle was born. 
Mary went upon her knee 
Travailing in ecstasy, 
And Brigid, mistress of the birth, 
Full reverently and tenderly 
Laid the child upon the earth. 
Then the dark-eyed rose did blow, 
And rivers leaped from out the snow. 
Earth grew lyrical : the grass, 
As the light winds chanced to pass 
Than magian music more profound 
Murmured in a maze of sound. 
White incense rose upon the hills 
As from a thousand thuribles, 
And in the east a seven-rayed star 
Proclaimed the news to near and far. 
The shepherd danced, the gilly ran, 
The boatman left his curachau ; 



The king came riding on the wind 
To offer gifts of coin and kind ; 
The druid dropped his ogham wand, 
And said : 'Another day 's at hand, 
A newer dawn is in the sky : 
I put my withered sapling by. 
The druid Christ has taken breath 
To sing the runes of life and death.' 



WHEN ROOKS FLY 
HOMEWARD. 

TVTHEN rooks fly homeward 

^^ And shadows fall, 
When roses fold 
On the hay-yard wall, 
"When blind moths flutter 
By door and tree, 

Then comes the quiet 

Of Christ to me. 

When stars look out 
On the Children's Path, 
And grey mists gather 
On earn and rath, 
When night is one 
With the brooding sea, 

Then comes the quiet 

Of Christ to me. 



The Children's Path, i.e. the Path of the Children of 
Uisneach 

Continuous as the start that shine 
And twinkle on the Milky Way. 



AS I CAME OVER THE 
GREY, GREY HILLS. 



A S I came over the grey, grey hills 
^^ And over the grey, grey water, 
I saw the gilly leading on, 
And the white Christ following after. 

Where and where does the gilly lead? 
And where is the white Christ faring ? 
They've travelled the four grey sounds; of Ore, 
And the four grey seas of Eirinn. 

The moon is set and the wind 's away, 
And the song in the grass is dying, 
And a silver cloud on the silent sea 
Like a shrouding-sheet is lying. 

And Christ and the gilly will follow on 
Till the ring in the east is showing, 
And the awny corn is red on the hills, 
And the golden light is glowing. 



CHRIST, WANDERING 
WITH THE TWELVE. 

CHRIST, wandering with the Twelve 

^^ One day in the fields 

Under the hill of Barra by the sea, 

Said to them : 

' Why take ye thought for raiment ? 

Consider the wind-flowers 

How they grow, 

Swaying, swaying in the grass : 

They toil not, neither do they spin, 

Nor weave fine clothes to cover them. 

Yet I say unto you, 

That Oilioll in all his glory 

Was not arrayed like one of these.' 



THE DARK IS 
MAGICAL. 

^T*HE dark is magical, the air 
Living with silver moths. 
Planet and star, like cherubin 
On heaven's amber stair, 
With golden cloths 
About their shoulders thrown, 
Whisper in sweet and secret monotone. 
The west wind beats upon my face 
With wings invisible, and feet 
As white and light and musical 
As wind . . . But lo, 
Where yonder in a cloud of snow 
Comes Christ, the Mystical ! 
His feet are whiter than the wind, 
His raiment than the stars, 
His voice than soiig of wind and stars 
In diapason joined 
More lyrical. 



THE WOMEN BORE 
THEIR CHILDREN. 

'T'HE women bore their children 

From mountain and field and street ; 
They bore them thro' the jeering crowd, 
And set them at Christ's feet. 

And lo, the Twelve rebuked them, 
Saying : ' The light is done : 
The word is dead on the Master's lips, 
And fain is he to be gone.' 

But Christ had love for the women 
Who gave to him of their share, 
And took the children up in his arms, 
And covered them with his hair, 

And said : ' Let the lambs and the younglings 
Be borne into the fold ; 
For of such is the kingdom of heaven, 
And of such is the horn of gold. 

'And lo, I take the children, 

And mark them with crosses three, 

And the pale, dark women, their mothers, 

Who ministered unto me.' 



Then Christ dreamed awhile in silence, 
And wandered into the night : 
And his feet were a running river, 
And his head a star of light. 



HE STAGGERED THRO' THE 
BURNING STREET. 



TTE staggered thro' the burning street, 

And tho' his cross o'er-weighted him, 
He raised his comely head to greet 
The women of Jerusalem. 
'O women of Jerusalem, 
Weep not for me who go to death 
With unbowed head and easy breath, 
But for your children. Lo, at hand 
There comes a season to the land 
When ye shall curse the womb that bears, 
The pap that sucks, the hand that rears, 
And Jew-folk born of Jacob's stem 
Shall call the hills to fall on them !' 
And when he came to Calvary, 
By many a strait and stifling street, 
They seized him by the hands and feet 
And nailed him to the gallows tree, 
And hoised him on the rocky stairs 
Between two common murderers ; 
And ere the day in dark was lost 
The sinless Christ gave up the ghost. 
Then flew the gilly on the wind 

12 




THE CRUCIFIXION. 



To do his Master service kind, 
And with him came the Magdalen 
With oil of nard and cinnamon, 
And Maria and Salome 
Bearing cloths of sepulchry. 
And when the paschal sun was dark 
They took the body white and stark, 
And laid it in a cist of stone 
To wait the Resurrection. 



TWILIGHT FALLEN WHITE 
AND COLD. 

"pWILIGHT fallen white and cold, 
Child in cradle, lamb in fold ; 
Glimmering thro' the ghostly trees, 
Arcturus and Pleiades. 

Wounds of Eloim, 

Weep on me ! 

Black-winged vampires flitting by, 
Curlews crying in the sky ; 
Grey mists wreathing from the ground, 
Wrapping rath and burial-mound. 

Wounds of Eloim, 

Weep on me ! 

Heard, like some sad Gaelic strain, 
Ocean's ancient voice in pain ; 
Darkness folding hill and wood, 
Sorrow drinking at my blood. 

Wounds of Eloim, 

Weep on me ! 



THE MOON IS IN 
THE MARSHES. 

n^HE moon is in the marshes, 

The gannets wheel and pass, 
Casting wandering shadows 
Over the mallow-grass ; 
Salt airs come lightly blowing 
In from the open sea, 
And I am dreaming, dreaming 
In silent ecstasy. 

A Christ-like quiet gathers 

About my weary soul : 

The wind wails in the marshes, 

The tides tumble and roll ; 

The red moon sails in beauty 

Over the open sea, 

And I am dreaming, dreaming 

In silent ecstasy. 



I AM THE MOUNTAINY 
SINGER. 

T AM the mountainy singer, 

And I would sing of the Christ 
Who followed the paths thro' the mountains 
To eat at the people's tryst. 

He loved the sun-dark people 
As the young man loves his bride, 
And he moved among their thatches, 
And for them he was crucified. 

And the people loved him, also, 
More than their houses or lands, 
For they had known his pity 
And felt the touch of his hands. 

And they dreamed with him in the mountains 
And they walked with him on the sea, 
And they prayed with him in the garden, 
And bled with him on the tree. 

Not ever by longing and dreaming 
May they come to him now, 
But by the thorns of sorrow 
That bruised his kingly brow. 

16 




THE RESURRECTION. 



AT MORNING TIDE. 

A T morning tide, 

^^ Upon the hill of Sliabh-na-mBan, 
I saw the dead Christ glorified ! 
His body, like the risen sun, 
Was all too bright to look upon : 
The blue air burned 
About him : in his side 
And hands and feet there shone 
(Thro' stabs and gashes gaping wide) 
The golden glory of his blood : 
The gilly stood 

Upon his right hand : at his feet 
The fishers, Peter, James and John, 
Knelt worshipping 
With outstretched arms, and eyes 
To heaven turned : 
And Maria, his mother sweet, 
(The partner of his mysteries) 
And Magdalen and Salome 
Came thro' the doorway of the day 
Behind him, weeping. 

Then a cloud came o'er 

My senses, and I saw and heard no more ! 



EVERY SHUILER IS 
CHRIST. 



shuiler is Christ, 
^ Then be not hard or cold : 
The bit that goes for Christ 
Will come a hundred-fold. 

The ear upon your corn 
Will burst before its time ; 
Your roots will yield a crop 
Without manure or lime. 

And every sup you give 
To crutch him on his way 
Will fill your churn with milk, 
And choke your barn with hay. 

Then when the shniler begs, 
Be neither hard nor cold : 
The share that goes for Christ 
Will come a hundred-fold. 



18 



THE POET LOOSED A 
WINGED SONG. 

'T'HE poet loosed a winged song 

^ Against the hulk of England's wrong. 
Were poisoned words at his command, 
T would not avail for Ireland. 

The soldier lifted up a sword, 
And on the hills in battle poured 
His life-blood like an ebbing sea 
And still we pine for liberty. 

The friar spoke his bitter hope, 
And danced upon the gallows rope. 
Were he to dance that dance again 
A hundred times, 'twould be in vain. 

Christ save us ! only thou canst save ! 
The nation staggers to the grave. 
Can genius, valour, faith be given, 
And win no recompense of heaven? 

No, Christ ! by Ireland's martyrs, no ! 
Twas not for this we suffered so. 
Die, die again on Calvary tree, 
If needs be, Christ, to set us free ! 

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